January 7, 2010

Even Children Must Learn To Share

Demographics may be catching up to Canadian junior hockey
Consider this: The night before the Americans claimed gold in Saskatoon, their under-17 national team did the same thing in Timmins, Ont, beating Team Ontario at the world hockey challenge. America's women, meanwhile, have won three of the last four world championships by dispatching Canada in the gold-medal game. All that needs to happen now is some calamity in Vancouver, when the Canadian men face the United States, and Mr. Harper might reconvene parliament with a royal commission charged with examining why our game is no longer ours alone.
"Calamity in Vancouver"? Why is it a bad thing that Canada may no longer dominate in hockey? Because it's half of their national identity? (The other half being that they're not Americans, of course.)

It's this kind of thinking that has made the NHL into a niche sport in the US. Keep the game "pure", keep it "Canadian", because that's real hockey. Well, that's why it's not becoming a national sport to rival the likes of football and baseball.

See, Americans might've invented baseball, but we rejoice when other countries pick it up and become competitive in it. We think it helps the game, and we want it to be a global phenomenon. It's good for the sport at home because it increases the available talent and it makes games close and fun. And if we lose an international game every once in a while, so be it. At least baseball is flourishing, and that's what matters. Now if only we can get American football out there in the same way....

Canadians can't or won't think that way. They're selfish and want to keep hockey all to themselves. They don't want to share the joy of the sport with anyone unless they're in charge of it - and even then, it's only grudgingly. It's theirs and only theirs, and too bad for you if you don't like it.

Talk about taking themselves far too seriously - geez!

Do we care what Canadians do with baseball? Nope. Have fun - knock yourselves out. So it's a bit mind-boggling for Americans as to why Canadians have this problem with hockey. We don't get it.

But the fact that Canadians get all uptight over things like this, well, that's hard to resist when we have the chance to rub their noses in it. Their reactions are just too entertaining to let it pass by. But for us Americans, it's all in good fun. Now if only we can get the Canadians to realize that, too.

(And, as a footnote for the Canadians who stumble across this, not only do I know where Saskatoon is, but I've actually been there.)

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